1 Chronicles 8:33—Was Ner the father of Kish or the son of Abiel?

Problem: 1 Samuel 14:51 refers to “Ner the father of Abner” who was Saul’s cousin. For Saul’s father, Kish, and Abner’s father, Ner, were brothers, having the same father, Abiel (1 Sam. 14:51, niv). But in 1 Chronicles 8:33 “Ner begot Kish, Kish begot Saul,” which would make Ner Saul’s grandfather. But if Ner was the father of Abner (as 1 Sam. 14:51 says), who was Saul’s cousin, then Ner would have been Saul’s uncle. Which was he?

Solution: There were probably two men named Ner, one Saul’s uncle and the other his great grandfather. The same names were not uncommon in family trees. The genealogy would look like this:

Thus, Saul had both an uncle and a great grandfather by the same name, Ner.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.